All About Police Reports And Traffic Collisions

police reports traffic collisions records vehicle crash

Have you ever been involved in a traffic collision? Then you must have heard about police reports. A police report is a public document created by the police officer who comes to the scene of the accident. 

This report consists of details about the crash, statements from the people involved as well as witnesses at the scene, and other important information. Lawyers and insurance companies start their investigation from this report, and it is the basis of the case, especially if the report finds one driver at fault for the accident. 

So this means that the police report is a crucial piece of evidence that is used when making insurance claims or filing a lawsuit. 

Now what does the police report contain, how you can obtain a copy of it, and how can it be beneficial for your case? These are all the questions you can find the answers to in this article. Continue reading to learn all about police reports. 

What Is A Traffic Collision Police Report? 

A police report for a traffic accident is a written document that is created at the scene of the accident by the responding police officer. 

The South Carolina accident reports consists of the details of the accident and the vehicles, people, or property involved, a diagram of the scene of the accident drawn by the officer, statements of drivers, witnesses, and passengers, and the officer's other findings and conclusion as to how or why the collision occurred. 

How Can You Obtain A Copy Of The Police Report? 

As already mentioned, the police report is written by the responding police officer to the scene of the accident. This report consists of information regarding the accident, including the facts and opinions of the police officer. 

The police officer may take some weeks to complete the report and make it available for public use. This police report is necessary for your case, so obtaining a copy of it is essential. 

There are two ways you can obtain a copy of the police report: 

1. You can obtain a copy by paying for it. 

In this way, you will have to request a copy from the local police office that created the report. The police officer at the scene will give you a receipt with the identification number for the report. So you can use it to call the traffic division and pay them an administrative fee, and you will be given a copy of the report. But if you do not have the identification number of the report, then you can give the traffic division your name, date, location, and time of the accident to get your police report. 

2. Or you can obtain a free copy of the police report. 

This can be obtained by asking your insurance adjuster for a copy. 

What Is In The Police Report? 

At the scene of a traffic collision, the responding police officer will investigate the scene. They will inspect the vehicles for damage, inspect the road conditions, talk with people involved as well as witnesses, measure distances, take pictures and write down notes. 

This information and evidence will help them draft the police report of your accident. So basically, the police report is the summary of the police officer’s assessment of the traffic collision. The police report will include the following information: 

· Approximation of the date, time, and location of the crash 
· Statements and contact information from the witnesses 
· Contact information such as name, address, insurance information, phone number, and license of the drivers involved in the accident. 
· Statements from the parties involved 
· Damages sustained by the vehicles involved in the collision 
· Road and weather conditions at the time of the accident 
· Drawn diagram of the scene of the accident 
· Note of violation of law 
· Officers' opinions as to how the collision occurred and who was at fault. 

So most of the information in the police report is a fact, like the date, time, and location of the accident. However, some of the information includes the opinion of the police officer, such as who was at fault and how the accident occurred. 

But regardless of what is in the police report, the lawyers and insurance companies make their own investigations and draw their own conclusions as to who is liable for the traffic collision. 

Insurance companies ask for the police report because the report consists of a lot of facts and information about the accident. But they conduct their own investigation to find the fault. 

And sometimes, the opinions drawn by police officers and insurance companies are different. So even if the police report is in favor of you, the insurance company of the other driver will still try to deny your insurance claim and try to get away without having to pay you anything. 

Are Police Reports Used In Court? 

Police reports are commonly used in settlement negotiations between the insurance company and your lawyer. But admitting the police report as evidence in the court is not that simple. In small claims courts, judges usually allow the use of police reports as evidence to explain what occurred. 

But if your case goes to a superior court, then you should know that both parties involved are held by the rules of the evidence, and they must discuss whether the police report falls under the rule against hearsay evidence. 

This keeps the statements made out of court away from the trial. So the police report is the statement that is made out of the court. However, in some jurisdictions, the police report comes under public records, while in others, there may be an exception in the hearsay rule, which may allow you to admit some or all of the information in the police report as evidence. 

What Happens After This Following An Accident? 

After any type of traffic collision, whether you decide to file an insurance claim or a lawsuit, the information in the police report can have a huge impact on the following two important areas: 

· Who was responsible for the traffic collision 

· And how much compensation can be recovered for the economic and non-economical damages you sustained as a result of the accident. 

So if the police report is not in your favor or you find that the other party is prepping up to fight you, then having an experienced and qualified lawyer from Joye Law Firm by your side will help you in your case. 

In A Nutshell 

Police reports are essential written documents drafted by the responding police officer at the scene of the accident. They consist of facts and information about the accident as well as opinions of the police officer as to who he/she thinks was at fault for the accident and how the accident occurred. 

The police report is a document read by lawyers and insurance companies to understand more about your case. It consists of the contact information of the people involved as well as the contact information of witnesses, the date, time and location of the accident and other important information about the accident.

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